Simple, elegant screenwriting.

  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz

AE7 on fxguide

Hear Steve Kilisky and Dave Simons discuss After Effects 7.0 on vfxguide's podcast. They discuss the new features and touch on HDR, but in a subsequent episode yours truly will be picking up where they left off and getting into some of the nitty griity of working in linear floating point in AE7. I'm a podcast addict and excited to finally be on one!

Fxguide's podcast is one of my favorites and an excellent knowledge resource. I highly recommend you subscribe (iTunes link) and check out the archives, especially the back-to-back episodes on the effects in Batman Begins.



Brian Maffitt of Total Training has dedicated Episode 3 of his Guru Lounge Podcast to AE7's new 32bpc mode. For those new to float, this is a great overview.


Part 3: Avoiding the Icy Sea

OK, so maybe you don't like all this ICC color management stuff. Maybe you long for the simplicty of eLin.* Maybe you want parallel color pipelines in all your floating-point comping apps.

Remember this article? It described using the eLin color model in Shake, and this one talked about Fusion. Now you can use this same true floating-point implementation of the eLin color model in After Effects 7 as well. The Anim Presets below follow the same naming convetion as the Shake and Fusion Macros, and do exactly the same things. To work with them in AE7, leave color management off (set Project Working Space to None), and set up Guide Adjustment Layers (AKA LUT layers) to hold your lin2vid Presets, just like you did for eLin. (17.1kB zip file UPDATED 2/11/06)

* No, I know you don't.


Linear Color Workflow in AE7, Part 2

When last we met, you had established a linear color profile as your project working space.

Why exactly did you do that? Because you wanted to process your pixels in linear-light, for a more photographic look to your basic compositing operations. You want color mixing free of edge artifacts, you want basic color corrections to yield organic results, you want simple blurs to look like smeared light, and you want to be able to speak and work in photographic terms, such as "a stop darker" and "18% gray."

You converted your pixels into your linear color space using Adobe's ICC color engine, which has been expanded to support floating-point for PSCS2 and now AE7.

So now what?

Just like with eLin, you should immediately see that even the most basic compositing operations look better. A simple A over B comp will have better edge blending and more photographic transparency. A layer in Add mode will look exactly like a double-exposure.

A layer in Screen mode will break. Like it says in the eLin docs, stay away from Screen. Add is the new Screen. Lemme just tip a 40 real quick for Screen. You got us through some 8-bit times, homie.

In linear light, basic color corrections become very useful and lovely, as we discussed here. One great example of this is the Exposure effect. It offers a slider for increasing or decreasing the exposure of your image in stops. You don't need to worry about the status of the "Bypass Linear Light Conversion" checkbox at the bottom, since you have a linear Project Working Space.

If you apply Levels to your linear float layers, bear this stuff in mind. Reach for gamma last, not first. Gain is your best friend, and Output White is Gain. And remember to un-check the Clip White checkbox! It defaults on for backwards compatibility, but I wish it didn't.

Since dialing in R, G and B gain is the most lovely way to color correct in linear float, I created a simple Anim Preset that allows you to do it using a color swatch rather than the Levels UI. Apply it to a layer and experiment with different colors in the swatch. Don't touch the Levels effect at all. Just like with our hacked 3-way Color Corrector, you can scrub the swatch in the timeline to adjust its hue and saturation, giving you interactive control over this color correction tool. Cool! (4kb, unzip to your Presets folder)